Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tidings that bind

For me family togetherness is the real reason for the season. Here's some snapshots of some of the clan. It's the furious foursome at the storytime during Mark's holiday work party. Noah and Grandma hang out at his school Christmas show. Ray gets up close and personal with Pa Joe (who I think he most resembles). Nana and Pop Pop party at our place on Christmas Eve. And Aunt Jessica finally takes time out of her busy preteen socializing schedule to visit with us.




Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's in the post

Oh holy night! Christmas is over already and it’s nearly 2008! I have no idea where the last month and a half went. It was Thanksgiving, Elisha’s visit, illness and Christmas all in one breath. I can make one generalization with a huge degree of certainty – having more than kid puts life on fast forward.

Fast though it was the Christmas season was lovely – filled with the typical trappings, new traditions and child-like glee. We’ve repeatedly watched the Nutcracker ballet (and had nightmares about the mouse king), saw the Dickens Village and Macy’s light show a couple of times, decorated the tree, cookies and a gingerbread house, sang and danced to many renditions of Christmas songs, saw four Santas, watched a puppet performance of The Velveteen Rabbit, watched many Christmas specials new and old, did many Christmas art projects, wrapped and opened about a billion gifts, and most importantly celebrated with many friends and family. Ray’s first Christmas and Noah’s fourth has been dizzying and memorable indeed.

And what did Santa bring us? Noah asked for “a keyboard, a microphone, and a turtle for the bath tub” and Santa delivered. Though Santa must be overworked – he forgot to include the 6 D batteries needed to operate the keyboard. And now we are sorely disappointed because even with the batteries it isn’t working. Noah is eagerly awaiting our trip to The North Pole to exchange it. And yes – I do readily participate in the Santa myth. To me it’s for the sake of magic and sparking the imagination – but I don’t use it as a threat for good behavior though at times it was mighty tempting. Ray got some stuff to chew and drool and Mama and Daddy got some utilitarian stocking stuffers like scissors, screwdrivers, tweezers and lip balms. And all the boxes of clothes and underwear were labeled from Mama and Daddy. As per usual Mark and I kept our exchange pretty small but thoughtful – he got clothes, shoes, itunes and a book and I got a movie, a tea pot and a frozen drink maker. And also per usual our families were incredibly, ridiculously generous. We got a million cool gifts and gift cards – so much stuff that it’s exciting yet sinful to talk about. I blush just thinking about it all. If I were incredibly good about thank you cards (and I’m not) I couldn’t even begin to ever send enough thanks to compare to all our parents do and think about us.

And on the sending front I’ve been meaning to comment on Christmas cards. I know it’s probably a bit weird, but I LOVE THEM. I just adore getting things in the mail that are sweet wishes from friends and families rather than bills and junk. So every year I design our Christmas card – spending far too long deciding on the right sentiment, the right picture, the right design. Wanting it to be sweet and smart and funny in some combination – all wrapped up in a photo of my boy(s). I’ve been using Vistaprint for the last few years and really recommend them – especially since you can get some killer deals once you are on their mailing list. Anyway the cards have stopped coming – I hope for a few stragglers - and now I know Christmas is officially over. Oddly enough this year I didn’t do much in the way of displaying the cards we received because I wanted to buy some sort of clippy garland or something but never found anything that fit the bill. How do you display your Christmas cards?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jumping tutorial

"JUMP!" I said.

Caring for a bunch of nuts

One has been appointed caretaker to the nutcrackers. The other is pissed he can't get around. This is life at The House of Eggerts.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Angels with dirty faces

I warned you people. These pictures are so angelic it's downright sinful. I hope the next preschool photo shoot has the kids dressed up as goths.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I miss my Tater Tot.

We're finally on the mend here at House of Eggerts. What a crazy week it had been. I've been totally sleep deprived and overwhelmed by two of the clingiest, neediest creatures known to man. One sick preschooler is a handful. One sick infant is more than a handful. The two of them together is boot camp.

Anyway, before we were quarantined my sister Elisha visited from Florida with her husband Christopher and their 15 month old son, Hunter. It was such a joy to have them here. It hurts that they are so far away and I get all teary eyed thinking about how big Hunter will be before we see him again. But such is life. I was reminded how fun yet challenging 15 months old is. Right after they learn to walk it seems impossible to get kids to sit still long enough to take a breath, especially in new surroundings. But Hunter was super sweet and it was good to see my little sister and her husband being such loving parents.

While they visited we went to The Please Touch, The Dickens Village, Reading Terminal Market and to see the Gallery Santa and ate Chinese, Mexican, Indian and Hoagie. It was a stuffed week - in more ways than one. Not to mention that my Dad (handsome bald fellow pictured below with my brother Jim, Mark and Christopher) cooked a delayed Thanksgiving feast for 13 adults and 12 children - CAN YOU IMAGINE?

It was lovely to be with family. We all miss Elisha alot. Before they visited I kept having dreams that they were moving in - and though that would be nightmarish for some I would be overjoyed. I love you, Lisey Ann. Give that sweet boy a kiss from Aunt Nicole.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

What's been plaguing us.

It was kind of a pitifully lost weekend here. We’ve all been sick, with Noah and Ray having the worst of it. It started over a week ago and while we were able to hold it at bay a bit while my sister Elisha and her family visited, (MISS THEM!) once she left we were sad and sicker. And sickness brings on nighttime disturbances which brings on sleep deprived parents fighting a losing battle against illness. Sniffle… yawn.

On the plus side, I’m almost done Christmas shopping. As of Thursday morning I hadn’t bought one single thing. Since then I’ve made one trip to Target and many shopping excursions online. If everything ships okay I should be golden. Thank you world wide interweb.

And back to the illness. A sick baby is a pitiful sight. Ray is awash in a fountain of snot, occasionally gagging on phlegm. He’s trying to keep his spirits up but the battle is too great. This is thanks in no small part to the fact that he is also getting his second tooth. YES – second. At not even five months old. This kid is in a rush. His super cool big brother has a whole mess of teeth and he wants some real bad. And the growing – by God this boy is huge. I think he’s nearly 18 pounds. Strong and built like a brick. I can honestly say he might be the most pleasingly squishy baby ever. We’ve taken to calling him happy bear – for his smiley disposition and his body type.

And Noah – well, while he’s been smart, engaging and sweet as always he’s also been tired, clingy and whiney. SO CLINGY. Yesterday he wouldn’t even let Mark put his coat on. “NOOO! MAMA! MAAAA-MAAAAA!” He’s been so beat that he’s taken naps every day for the past three days - for the first time since he dropped naps in May!

So PLEASE let the illness be gone soon. We want to get back to reveling in the holiday season. Photos and video to come.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don't wear it out.

Experimenting with different ways to post video. Let me know if you have a preference. Also - if you know how to flip a vertical video in Youtube.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Watch the hair, man.

video

Hope you enjoy our first video post. More of these to come, but hopefully not so many that you want to bludgeon yourself. And yes, I hate my voice. It and my own visage are what have barred me from taking constant video of my kids up to this point.

How about them Eagles?

We had folks over on Friday. Some with kids, some without. Any time I have a plan to mingle with the childless I remind myself that I can and WILL talk about other things – music, TV, news, entertainment gossip (Thanks, Tracey!), and even some politics. And yet after everyone left on Friday I was feeling like “Goddamn it! All I talked about was the kids. I suck.” In my defense I’ll say that people asked me questions about them – which is what you do when you are catching up with friends you don’t see enough. However I have a problem whereby I get on a roll and I can talk about them until the cows come home and your eyes sink back into your sockets. I really have to learn to stop myself and say something like “Are you by any chance watching Pushing Daisies/Project Runway/ Kid Nation?” Because nothing is more enthralling and fulfilling than talking about television.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program – Eggerts kids allatime! Noah is SO eager about Christmas. It started two weeks ago on the car ride home from my Mom’s wedding rehearsal dinner. A million questions about Santa. Most prominently “Why does Santa come at night when nobody can see him?” Ahem. I’ve since explained repeatedly that if he came when we were awake everyone would want to greet him and hang out and then he’d never get his job done. I’ve also explained that there are many Santas – the ones in the malls are direct reports to THE SANTA who comes out only on Christmas Eve. We are also in a flurry of “Can I have that?” especially since the toy catalogs have come in the mail. The ridiculous thing is that he keeps asking for things he already has, which clearly makes my point that he needs NOTHING. I’m having real difficulties coming up with answers for family members wanting to shop. I want to tell everyone to get him savings bonds or gift certificates to the art and bookstore but that stuff is not thrilling to see a kid open on Christmas day.

Ray had his first solid last night – the super savory and delicious rice cereal. Doesn’t every child enjoy the taste of paste? He seemed not all that interested or pleased with it last night. He mostly just shriveled up his face and let it dribble back out. He even gagged a few times. But he had another go this morning and was much more receptive – though still not eating with the vigor of Noah’s first meals. But the most exciting development of late is that Ray has come to appreciate Noah as the entertainment whirlwind he is. We’ve had a couple of instances lately where Noah is goofing around and Ray is laughing and squeaking hysterically. It would damn near make your heart explode to experience it. Last night Mark was trying to cheer up a grumpy Ray – he was singing and jumping. And Ray was like “SEEN IT! Next.” Then Noah got up from the dinner table to jump and Ray lost it. Mark was crestfallen. But he just can’t pit himself up against the master. Noah is clearly the David Hasselhof in our Germany.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tis the season

We packed a whole lotta livin' in one Black Friday. We rode the Santa Express subway train to the Gallery, greeted Santa when he got off the train, paraded to the center of the Mall for the kickoff of the holiday season, raced over to see the Macy's light show, cut a line to see the wierd animatronic puppety Dickens Village, had a photo taken with Santa, and then hurried home to host our Black Friday Leftover Potluck. Noah was a party animal and stayed up for the duration. He went to bed at 11:30 pm. Needless to say he is a meltdown mess today - but it was totally worth it. The holidays have officially begun.



Thursday, November 22, 2007

It has nothing to do with Istanbul

Last Thanksgiving was the day we found out we would soon have one more thing for which to be thankful for – another baby. And this year as I cuddled Ray Konrad and watched Noah cavort joyfully for the sole purpose of making his baby brother laugh I was reminded once again this is what I should be thankful for, not only on Thanksgiving but every day. We have so much love in our lives – for each other, our families and friends – and I hope we have many, many more healthy years to enjoy and appreciate them.

Typically on Thanksgiving we stop in to see my Dad around noon and then head to my Mom’s place for dinner, where she also feeds my in-laws. It’s a nice plan to see everyone. This year however my Mom is honeymooning in Vegas and since my Dad is postponing Thanksgiving until next week when my sister Elisha is visiting from Florida with her husband and son – that left our plans in a shambles. So we invited my FIL and his wife to our place for dinner. And since I’m no saint or martyr I ordered the bulk of our meal pre-cooked from the grocery store. As pathetic as I feel for cheating – it made it a lot less stressful. It was hard enough managing the boys while getting the place a little cleaned up for company let alone figuring out how to cook the bird. Luckily Noah was kept busy this morning by an avid interest in the Thanksgiving Day Parade - unfortunately he was repeatedly asking to see bits from last years parade. Sheesh.

I’m very happy to report that both the boys got a clean bill of health at their pediatrician well visits (3 years for Noah, 4 months for Ray) this past week. Ray is 26.5 inches and 17 pounds and is in the 90 percentile for weight, height and head circumference – he’s one big boy. In comparison he is one inch longer and four pounds heavier than Noah was at four months old. Noah is now 39 inches and 32.5 pounds – which is 90 percent for height and 50 percent for weight for his age group. These numbers and percentages might bore you to tears but for some odd reason I totally look forward to finding them out at each visit. Both boys got shots – and Noah took his flu shot bravely and without one tear.

I am considering taking Noah on the Santa Express train to the Gallery mall tomorrow morning – but don’t intend on doing any door buster shopping. I haven’t even made out my Christmas shopping list yet. Years ago I would do all my shopping at the last minute because I would have to use the money from that very last pay period to buy gifts. This isn’t really the case any more but I still wait until the very last minute. I hope to change that for next year, but probably will say the same exact thing next year.

Tomorrow night we host our traditional Black Friday Potluck for a handful of friends. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen some of these folk – so I’m really looking forward to it. But of course weighing heavily (pun intended) on my mind is how I wish I were thinner and both I and the house were a bit more put together. But if I waited for that I’d never see people.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A sharp dressed man

Noah had a most excellent time at his Grandma's wedding. He was a dancing machine and the life of the party. I have no idea what they put in his punch.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Look at those lifted heads!


Soon they will be racing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He's a regular Isaac Mendez.

Noah is on an art rampage after a visit to the Art Museum on Sunday. He’d been asking to go for some time but since I only take him on Sundays so as not to pay full admission for an hour long visit, and since it seems every Sunday has been booked I’d been stalling him for what seemed like forever. We marched through modern art, the armor, asian art, the temples and the tea house. He wasn’t all too focused on any one thing but he was obviously impacted. He’s asked to paint every day this week. As Mark says, Noah’s likely to drown us in his art work. And he’s also started asking about writing letters. He wants me to help him write his name as well as other names and words. He can do a fairly decent job of writing his name – with me telling him how to draw each part of each letter. “Draw a straight line. Now draw a diagonal line from the top of that line to here. And now a straight line from the bottom of that line to here. Great N!”

His other new artistic outlet is photography. Per my suggestion, my in-laws bought Noah the Fisher Price Kid Touch Digital Camera for his birthday. He LOVED it instantly. To my chagrin however after a couple of days it stopped working. I changed the alkaline batteries and no go. I changed the button cell battery and still nothing. It was so frustrating because Noah took a bunch of photos that disappeared. I called Fisher Price and complained. They are sending me a label and would ship me a new one once they received my return. But get this – it would take 8-12 weeks! WHAT! And they call that customer service? Unfortunately I don’t have the receipt so I went to Toys R’ Us, bought another one and will swap them and return the broken one and get my money back. Take THAT system! Anywho I created a Flickr account for Noah and will post the link once he starts taking more photos with the new camera. That is if it continues to work.

Today Noah told me he was going to sing a song about “Gagama passing away.” He then sang really slowly and quietly “Friend. Don’t go away, friend. Friend, don’t go away.” And as he sang he laid down on the floor and shimmied underneath the coffee table. I was really touched and stunned. I merely said “That was a really beautiful song. It was sad.” And he said “Yup.” And then he leapt up. started vehemently shaking his maraca and bellowing “One, Two, Three – another rock and roll band!” The song stuff has been cracking me up lately. Now he’s pausing in between sections of his singing and instrument playing to say “This is the jazzy part,” “This is the breakdown part, and “This is the rockin’ part.” He also sings guitar parts which is SO fun.

Noah’s preschool is a city program run out of a very old school, blue collar, traditional and patriotic part of town. Hence my child singing “God Bless America” every night before bed and already practicing for a Christmas pageant. A couple of times of year one of the teachers who also had a Masters degree in photography takes pictures of the kids. They then sell those photos in packages with the money to benefit the preschool program. I take a bajillion photos and don’t really favor posed studio shots but plan on buying a few shots every time just to do my part. That said, I was not really looking forward to Noah having his “Angel” photo taken last week – angels aren’t really my thing and the idea seemed a bit babyish and silly to me. HOWEVER – I got the proofs of his photos today and MY GOD they are so cute they might induce vomiting. I guess it’s the lighting that made my boy look damn near luminescent. His eyes alone are stunning. Hey I’m not into angels but HELLS if I won’t show those pictures to everyone I know. I’ll scan and post when I get the prints.

My mammoth baby – big both in size and loveable-ness – continues to grow, flourish and teeth. At a mere four months old he needs to be moved to 6-9 month clothing. Of course all Noah’s hand-me-downs for that size are summery short sets. Dagnabit. I’ve had to go out and buy wintery fleece sleepers and such. And while purchasing said stuff I just keep thinking “I guess I have to have one more so at least I can use ONE of these sets of clothes again.” It’s merely a recycling THANG. (Inshallah, of course.)

It’s WEDDING WEEKEND! Mom ties the knot on Saturday night. Noah and I have the honor of walking her down the aisle. Bring on the tissues! I may look pouchy and harried in my dress – but that boy would make anyone look good. IN A TUXEDO, no less!

So here is my poll for this post. Mom invited me to go with her and her fiance’s daughters and granddaughters to get their nails painted tomorrow. I desperately wanted to BOND with everyone and wanted to be part of the wedding festivities however after much debate decided I could not in good conscience have a four month old in a nail shop for over an hour. Those acrylic fumes are just awful and they worry me too much. Mom said I was going “crunchy” on her. So be honest – think I’m being paranoid? Would you take your baby to the nail shop?

I had more. I know I did. But who can keep this stuff straight.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Party like a preschooler!

Noah celebrates the big three with his Arty Party - and Ray is intent on learning to walk at a mere 3 and a half months. (I swear that kid always seems ripe for becoming a LOLcat.)



The cast of characters

Ray – He’s rolling over. Grabbing things. Holding his head up high. Kicking his feet around, pissed off he can’t get anywhere. He’s still sleeping great at night. Unfortunately he has no day time schedule because his Mama and brother are just totin’ him all over town at all hours and he just dozes when he can. Sometimes he feels more like luggage than a baby. But he still prefers being out of the house, seeing the world. Oh and he is amazed by brother Noah. He just stares and smiles and stares some more. It’s true love.

Noah – He turned THREE on Sunday. All the growing child clichés are true – it’s going SO fast. I just keep tearing up when I think about how much he’s already learned and grown. And about how proud I am to be his mother – and incredibly thankful to spend all day, every day with him. He truly is a remarkable little man. He’s so smart, funny and imaginative – occasionally I feel a bit sad that because of his shyness so few people really get to see the true him. We had his kiddie birthday party on Sunday at the Fairmount Art Center. It was so much easier than cleaning my house from top to bottom and entertaining 13 three year olds. And I think all the kids really enjoyed it. Especially Noah. He loves doing art – wants to paint, draw and sticker every day. His favorite teacher at his school is Miss Laura – the art teacher. And he’s still a very musical boy – singing, dancing, playing instruments, composing songs. It may sound crazy but I hope to start him on Suzuki piano next year. But maybe someone will talk some sense into me before that happens.

Mark – He was swamped at work the last month, prepping for the Democratic debate at Drexel. It was so hard just to have him not come home at 5:30 on the dot every night. I don’t know how people do it when they get less help. I love my kids and love spending my days with them but by 5:30 I’m sincerely in need of some help. And he’s fine help indeed. The man does so much of the grunt work – and definitely does not get enough appreciation. Have I mentioned that he does almost all the dishes? And his own laundry, the trash, the recycling and cleans the bathrooms (when we get around to it)? That, my friends, is worth it’s weight in gold. And then to be a kick ass friend, husband and caring and involved father to boot! Thank you Mark! I don’t deserve you.

Me – This week I’m exhausted. Rundown. A bit lost. It’s been incredibly busy lately, and I prefer it that way but I feel like I’m also in the middle of a whirlwind. The boys are keeping me so busy that NOTHING else gets done. The house is in shambles and so am I. I’ m not the cleanest person in the world but I don’t like disorder and at the moment everything is everywhere. And on the rare occasion we get a moment to pick up – the next day it’s all destroyed again. Of course my weight is really bothering me but I don’t have the energy and willpower to even try to do something about it other than complain. I just cringe and whimper at almost every photo taken of me - which is great since I’m the Maid of Honor in my Mom’s wedding next weekend. I plan on just holding the kids in front of me at every opportunity. So that's the stuff that's eating away at me - but there is tons of amazing stuff too. I'm just tired and a bit overwhelmed at the moment. This too shall pass.

Parker – I had to take our cat Parker to the Pet Emergency room this morning. I was feeling really awful about it because when he started hobbling around last night I was certain I had caused it when I tossed him down the basement steps so that I could keep him from running out the front door during a delivery. It seemed he didn’t fall quite right when it happened and I immediately became convinced I injured him. But it turns out he had a urinary obstruction that was life threatening – but not related to the stairs incident – and easily removed in surgery ($555!!). He’s going to be at the vet for the next couple of days with a catheter for monitoring but then he should be home as good as new. That is if he doesn’t have some larger problem that caused the obstruction – like cancer.

Monday, October 29, 2007

In a nutshell

It's been a busy Fall-apalooza around here. I'll run you through the last week. Last Saturday - Bella's Bellaween birthday party and then leave the kids at Grandma's to go out for an anniversary date at Arielle's. Sunday - bachelorette brunch for my Mom at the William Penn Inn. Monday - school. Tuesday - Library story time. Wednesday - Smith Playhouse. Thursday - School. Friday - Please Touch Museum. Saturday - furniture pricing in Jersey. Sunday - Fall Festival at Liberty Lands Park.
And we've got a busy week ahead of us with Halloween and Noah's Bday on Sunday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Milestones

On Sunday Ray turned three months old and giggled for the first time. The trigger oddly enough was me using a cloth to wipe some of the drool out of the folds of his many chins. And of course since then Mark and I are endlessly trying to make him laugh. I concentrate on repeating the chin maneuver while he changes it up quite a bit – ever the showman aiming for the big laugh. But GOD – those first giggles are one of the best sounds in the whole world. It’s a moment I’d love to freeze forever and have access to in sad and bored times.

The other big milestone is that today is my fifth wedding anniversary. I always feel kind of cheated by anniversaries because the number does not seem near big enough. Mark and I have been together for ten years – so FIVE, well that’s nothing. I’d love to say I’m the easiest person in the world to be married to or that every moment is romantic and spark-filled. But hey – marriage just isn’t like it. Occasionally things are so lovey and over the moon that rainbows shoot out of your ass – but mostly it’s just real nice and comfortable with the occasional over-tired parent snapping at each other because you can’t yell at the kids. I’m married to my best friend and not only do I love him, I like him a whole bunch and we’ve always wanted the same things out of life. So thank you, Mark, for loving the city nightlife, music, eating out, travel, movies and reading – but for also being grateful to be able to put all those things on the back burner in order to raise a family who over time we can share all of these things with. You rock. Even when you are annoying and I’m a being bitch.

As for Noah’s milestone – well school is going well and not so well. He doesn’t cry and he does seem eager to go - loves the teachers and the story time but still isn’t really playing with other children. He seems to have social anxiety in groups of unfamiliar people. It makes me feel sad for him, but Mark feels even more distraught and worried about it since he inherited it from him. Last week in one of many conversations with Noah about playing with the other kids he told me “I can’t play with them. I don’t know them names.” So on Monday I asked his favorite teacher if she could be sure to introduce him to other children and she agreed. But what concerns me is that he isn’t even playing with the girls he knows and sees outside of school. He said “Lily and Maia were playing. I went by them but they didn’t say anything.” To which I asked “Did you say anything to them?” And of course I got a “No.” On Monday his teacher told me he spent awhile just laying on the story carpet – she asked if he had been tired or sick. And he hadn’t. Noah said he was tired but he had gotten a fine amount of sleep the night before. Plus he has NEVER just been so tired that he lay down on the floor at home. NEVER. After much prodding he said “Maybe I missed my Mama.” And today just before I dropped him off at school he told me he was feeling sleepy (actually so am I since he’s had nightmares and kept us up the last three nights) and maybe he was going to lay down again. I told him he could do what he wanted but that I wanted him to have fun at school and if he was tired and always laying down in school that he was going to have to come home and take a nap. I saw a horrified look in his eyes since it’s been almost six months since he’s had a naptime. And now it’s time to pick him up so I will see how it went.

Oh – and any nightmare tips?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Punkind

Finally some Fall-like weather. And to celebrate we went to Linvilla orchards. It was certainly the most noteworthy thing that happened this week, that is after the funeral and Noah vomiting in the night because he ate too much butter. Oh, and I booked flights for my sister Elisha, her husband Christopher and her son Hunter to come visit at the end of November. I can't wait.



It's hard work




Did Dorney

Noah had a great time at Dorney Park with his soon to be step-cousins. Only one more month until my Mom's wedding. I still have to buy a dress, or shall I say "circus tent."
Oh and my boy went on not one, but THREE mini-coasters. On the one I rode with him I clutched him tight, my stomach churning, and he said "I don't like this." I wanted to stop the ride immediately. Of course when we got off and my Mom asked if he liked it he said "Yes." And then "I want to go on another one."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Laima

EGGERTS Laima M. Eggerts Social worker, former Montclair resident, 97 Laima M. Eggerts, 97, a resident of The Villages in Howell Township, died on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007, at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township. Visiting will be on Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Clayton & McGirr Funeral Home, 100 EltonAdelphia Rd. (Rt. 524), Freehold Township. Friends and relatives are invited to attend her funeral service on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 211 Elton-Adelphia Rd., Freehold Township. Interment will follow in Adelphia Cemetery, Adelphia. Born in Latvia, Mrs. Eggerts, a doctor of dental diseases, graduated from the State University in Riga. She practiced dentistry in her native country and later in Germany. She came to the U.S. in 1959, and subsequently obtained an M.A. in social work at the University of Tennessee in Nashville. She lived in Montclair before moving to The Villages in 1977. Mrs. Eggerts worked as a social worker at the Essex County Medical Center, Cedar Grove, and later for the Lutheran Homes of New Jersey. After retirement, she worked part-time as a social worker at the Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune Township. Mrs. Eggerts was an accomplished equestrian in her youth, riding horses that she raised and trained herself. She won many trophies in international events all over Europe before World War II.. She also was an avid gardener, cultivating much-admired flower gardens wherever she lived. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. Arthur Eggerts, in 1989. Surviving are her son and daughter-in-law, Ragnars Martin and Sylvia Eggerts, of Old Bridge; a sister, Aina Pamovskis of Tigard, Ore.; a grandson, Mark and his wife, Nicole, of Philadelphia, and her great-grandsons, Noah and Ray.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Puzzled


I have no earthly idea what you are talking about.

Band on the run

I’m really slacking in reporting the run of the mill details of daily life around here – so I’ll try and catch you up. Being home with the boys is going pretty well. I was worry that with the two of them I’d feel confined to the home, but just the opposite has happened. I find it easier to be out of the house and therefore more compelled to do SOMETHING every day. The reason behind this is that if I’m at home I have to entertain Noah and bounce the baby around the house but if we’re out Noah is entertained by his surroundings and I’m bouncing the baby around because we’re doing something and not just because I’m walking in circles.

Ray is ginormous. At his 2 month checkup he weighed 13.5 pounds and was in the 90 percentile for weight. He’s a pudgy, wudgy. I love squeezing his soft, fat arms. It’s funny, Noah was always in the 20 percentile for weight, so long and thin. Already they are so different – with Noah’s body type more like Mark and Ray more like mine. I hope his boobs don’t get this big. Ray does seem to be an early bloomer – he’s teething at 2.5 months old. Covered in drool and chomping away at my hands. This teething crap isn’t supposed to start until 6 months!

Noah’s third day of school on Monday went okay. He cried a bit when I said goodbye to him but apparently stopped as soon as he entered the classroom. Once again he had fun playing with the toys and talking to the teachers but hasn’t yet played with any other kids. At least so says Noah. The teachers just tell me how well he’s doing but I think they just mean he isn’t having any behavioral issues, which isn’t surprising. He saves his occasional uprisings for home. Still eating too slow and having the occasional over-tired refusing to transition meltdown. But he’s still incredibly sweet. And smart. That kid boggles my mind. He just soaks up information like a sponge. Yesterday when he was looking at Mark’s feet he remarked on “some serious lint.” And today out of nowhere he said “Mama, a car has a trunk. And an elephant has a trunk.” Very astute observation young man, especially since we were not discussing trunks, elephants or cars at the time. He’s very interested in letters in the moment – asking me to write words, tell him what words start with what letters, and saying things like “W-H-G-G-T. That means party!” And I’ve started working on number recognition with him since he can nearly count to twenty.

TV. I have to admit he is watching a bit more. Still at the same times of day – morning after breakfast as I prepare for our day, and afternoon as I wind down from our day and make dinner. But sometimes it’s for longer than I’d like. But I am still completely controlling what he watches. Nothing with commercials and mostly stuff on On Demand or DVR. I can’t believe it’s taken me a whole month to get around to whining to you about how PBS stopped broadcasting “Mr. Roger’s” in our area. I wanted to start a letter writing campaign, but, um… haven’t written one letter. Ha. But it really is a sin. That show was bar none still the best kids show on TV. And it was Noah’s favorite. Luckily I have a handful of episodes DVR’d and we’ve been watching them over. He does however have two new favorites. He digs the new PBS show “SuperWhy” – which is sort of annoying but very letter and reading centric and definitely educational so it’s on my short list of allowed programming. And he LOVES “Charlie & Lola” on Disney. I started recording it because we got a “Charlie & Lola” book about starting school and we both really liked it. (In fact when Noah didn’t want me to leave him at school on Monday he kept telling me he was too busy at home to go to school, which is a direct line from that book. It was funny and cute but he was being so honest and earnest about saying it I nearly cried.) Anyway, the show is so beautifully designed and written that I absolutely look forward to watching it everyday. And the British accidents definitely help.

TV for me? I’ve DVR’d Chuck, Reaper and Pushing Daisies and enjoyed them all. Any other suggestions?

And what have we been up to? The usual. Keeping busy with lots of playdates and spending time with family. Like I mentioned planning a field trip every day – like to meet Mark for lunch and then to watch trains at 30th Street Station, going to Camden Children’s Garden, Smith Playhouse, Liberty Lands Park, the library etc. A friend suggested creating an Arts playgroup that would meet every other Wednesday at different folks houses so we’re looking forward to that. And with Noah’s school on Mondays and Thursdays it leaves a couple of other weekdays for trips. We’re hoping to visit Janette in Reading next week for a doll house tea party (and yes, we both have boys) and to go to Linvilla Orchards to pick apples on Friday. This weekend we visit with my Dad on his birthday on Saturday and then go to Dorney Park on Sunday – we got free tickets because it’s my Mom’s fiance’s company picnic. I predict Noah will explode with ride excitement since he’s still talking about the rides he went on at the beach in mid-June. And then the extravaganza that is Halloween is just around the corner. Boo! Fall is busy, and I love it.

On a more somber note it has been confirmed that Laima will not recover from her stroke and they anticipate her passing in the next two weeks. As I’ve said, it’s far more sad for us than her. I just wish the process wasn’t so long for her, but hopefully she isn’t in any pain. I haven’t been to visit because I don’t think she’s still “in there” and because I don’t want to remember her in that hospital bed. But I have to admit I do feel sort of guilty for not going.

Well this is long, meandering and a mess but I haven’t time to fine tune. I am exhausted.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A first and last meeting




That good night

The last thing I want is for the blog to seem morbid – but I have another piece of bad news. This Thursday Laima, Mark’s 97 yo Grandmother, was found unconscious in her bathroom. It appears she has had a massive stroke and will not regain consciousness. The worse bit of it is that it may take her body some time to begin to shut down so she may be lingering in hospice for some time. Though we will miss her dearly, I have to admit that her imminent death is not nearly as sad as a run of the mill death. Laima lived a very long, full life and as a very religious woman has been anxiously awaiting death. As she has explained to me it is difficult for her to watch so many of her friends and peers pass away, including her husband, to go to countless funerals and to soldier on as her body got increasingly more pained and slow – all the while knowing that just on the other side of this life is salvation, a glorious date with God. I know she will not be sad to go. What would make her sad is the lingering, or even worse regaining consciousness while being drastically impaired. So for Laima I wish an expedient and painless death, and that her Lord and afterlife be everything she hoped for and more.

On the very positive side I will note that we went to visit Laima just two weeks ago. It was the first time she saw Ray and it really did feel like a very satisfying goodbye though we had no idea of knowing at the time since she wasn’t the least bit ill. Mark went to go see Laima yesterday at the hospital but myself and the boys did not go. If Noah is able to hold on to a memory of her I want it to be a living one. I have explained to Noah that his Gagama is dying – that she is very old and very sick and that it will be very sad to no longer see her but that she believes in heaven and is excited to go there. But it is such a complex and scary concept to describe to kids. To make sure he realizes everyone who is sick is not going to die, that everyone described as old is not on death’s door. But yesterday morning I had him make a card for Laima – to say goodbye, and Mark took it to the hospital. I asked Noah what to write on it and he said “Goodbye Gagama! I will miss you. I love you. And that’s it.” I don’t know if I’m handling all this correctly though since I’m just following instinct. Looking forward I think I will take Noah to her services but I really do not want him to attend the viewing – which will be difficult since I should really be in attendance. But I guess we will get to that when it comes. You folks have anything to share about helping a preschooler deal with death?

So, enough death for the time being. Noah’s second day of school went really well. He got the required four hugs and kisses and marched into class. No crying. And this time he did play with some toys during free time – though he says he hasn’t yet played with any other kids. Miss Laura told me that he was a very smart and funny boy who told her he was a bunny and hopped around the sand box. And also later she saw him with a faraway look on his face so she called him over and asked if he was okay. Apparently he said “I was thinking I should tell a teacher that I have to poop.” This week is the first week he will go on Monday and Thursday, and that the whole class will be together. I’m excited for this because Noah has two friends (Lily & Maia) in his class who have been going on Thursdays and I hope they hope make him feel more comfortable. Though he really is already on his way.

Well I have more but the baby is stirring and I should have been drying my hair and folding my laundry. Always a list of shouldas.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sophia


Precious

I have never seen as much sorrow and grief as I saw today. This morning Mark and I went to the viewing and services for his cousin Stephanie’s two year old daughter Sophia who died unexpectedly this past Wednesday. Sophia was a seemingly healthy and vibrant two year old girl until she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and passed away in the span of week. There are no condolences appropriate, no sense to be made, no silver lining. There are no words. It is every parents' worst nightmare.

I can’t stop thinking about Stephanie and Joe, what they are going through and what they will go through every day, how they will manage to make it through – and also of Anna Rose, Sophia’s 4 year old big sister, what she understands and the pain she will always carry with her. I was considering sending a picture book on loss of a loved one to Anna Rose and as I was doing some research I came across an independently published book called “Am I still a big sister?” The title alone made me weep.

I am once again reminded to be so thankful for what I have, and yet I feel so guilty clutching at my children greedily when I know how empty and lost Stephanie and Joe must feel. My heart goes out to anyone who has ever endured this kind of unimaginable loss. And yet that means so little.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

His first day of school. Sigh.

Noah was excited. He seemed revved to go. In the morning he was playing with plastic bugs as I got my shower. When we went downstairs he bid them adieu by saying “Goodbye bugs! I’m going to school. But I’ll be back in two hours.” He told me he was reassuring them so they wouldn’t cry. He made quick work of his lunch (Thank God), peed on the potty and got ready to go out the door without a fuss. After I parked the car but before we got out Noah said “Goodbye, Mama.” And I laughed and said “I’m going to take you inside silly.” We had to wait in the gym for a few minutes until the Director came in to say “It’s time for school.” They put out a bunch of balls for the kids to bounce around while waiting. I could tell how hard Noah was willing to try when he walked away from me as if he was going to go get a ball but then just stood in the middle of the gym looking at me nervously. When the announcement was made I signed him in, put his name tag on his back and took him downstairs to his classroom. Teachers were there to greet the kids at the door and bar the parents from coming in. I gave Noah a hug and a kiss and told him “You are going to have a good time. If you need anything ask a teacher - if you need to go to the potty or even if you are just feeling a little shy and want someone to play with you. I love you and I’ll see you in two hours.” He said “Okay” gave me a shy smile and walked in to the classroom. And here is where I screwed up – I should have walked right away. But I didn’t. I kind of moved to the side to see if I could see if he walked right in to play with the toys or if he went to a teacher. He looked back up and saw me so I blew him a kiss, and smiled and he started walking back out towards me. Miss Laura saw him and guided him away from me and into the classroom and I hit the road. I didn’t cry but I felt choked up and a little physically ill but once I got to the grocery store I was fine.

I made quick work of shopping and even stopped at Dunkin Donuts for an iced coffee (yes, I still have a very real addiction to those.) Even though I couldn’t pick him up until 2 and it was only 1:30 I went back to the school figuring I could nurse Ray in the car and just hang out until it was time to go in and pick Noah up. After I parked the car out front I got out and went around to get Ray out of his seat. As soon as I did I noticed that there was a group of kids outside using the sand area – and Noah was one of them. While most of the kids were hunkered down in the sand, Noah was sitting with a teacher. Miss Rose was sitting in a chair and Noah was standing in front of her with her arms around him. I decided to quickly move the car on the off chance he spotted me, but I moved it just far enough so that I could catch a glimpse of him while nursing Ray. He eventually moved away from the teacher but was just pacing around with his hands behind his back. I felt sad for him. Soon enough though they collected the kids and took them inside.

I went in at 2 and Noah was all smiles and relief to see me. He was still sitting on the story carpet. I asked Miss Lyn (there are 5 teachers for the 22 kids) how he did and she gave me two thumbs up as she said something I didn’t quite catch since Ray started fussing. As we headed back out the door Miss Rose, who looks like your typical grandmotherly sort – which could be used to describe nearly all the teachers there – called Noah her buddy, gave him a hug and told me what a good boy he was.

So what does Noah have to say? “I cried a little bit.” Why? I wanted to give Mama another hug.” (Which is SO my fault for not leaving immediately.) Did you play with the toys? “No. I cried.” Did a teacher help you stop crying? “Yes. She asked me if I wanted to color.” What else did you do? “We went to the sandbox. Some boys threw sand and it got in them eyes.” Did you throw sand? “Yes/No” (this answer changed repeatedly.) Did you have a snack? “I didn’t have a cookie. I had crackers and juice.” Apple juice? “No. It was darker.” Did you read stories? “Yes. A story about a dog who hid. And a wheels on the bus book.” Did you sing? “Not Christmas songs or that other song.” You mean God Bless America? (he has heard me tell other people that the school promised to teach all the kids God Bless America by Christmas.) “Yes.” Did you talk to any other kids or make any friends? “I was warming up. When you don’t know people you have to warm up and then you can play and know them names.” Did you have a good time? “Yes.” Do you want to go back next week? “Yes. I might cry a little bit.” Well next time I’ll give you three hugs and three kisses before I leave okay? “I want four hugs and four kisses.” Deal.

So that’s the first day. It’s about what I expected. I’m proud of him – he tried so hard and stayed so positive. Hopefully he’ll “warm up” soon. Until then I’m sure he’ll just follow the teachers around. What seems the most mind blowing to me is that now he’s going to have this life outside of me. He’ll have these relationships with the teachers and the other students that I won’t witness firsthand and I’ll have to observe snippets and ask a billion questions to find out what is going on. I find that so scary. I better get me an apron with some really, really long strings.

Argh! A mouse.

Pirate Noah's look is aided by the fact that he fell this week and lead with his face. And take a gander at the ephemeral moods of Master Ray - or as I'm calling him this week our Mighty Mouse.





Friday, September 14, 2007

Like sand through the hourglass

I’m still here. I’m managing to survive solo days with the boys. In fact it seems to be going fairly well. The secret to my sanity is just keeping busy. I have to get Noah out of the house every day because for me it’s far harder to care for the baby and entertain Noah all day at home. Plus the baby does better out of the house too – new things to stare at wide-eyed – that is when he’s not sleeping. So we’ve been to the Please Touch Museum, to the Smith House twice, to the library, to a few playdates and then to do assorted errands.

Of course that isn’t to say we haven’t had some challenges. Noah has got me racking my brain over two issues. The first is mealtime. Noah is a good eater. There isn’t anything he won’t consistently eat and he eats plenty. However he takes FOREVER to do so. He’ll sit at the table for over an hour with me begging him to pick up the pace – meanwhile he’s off in his own little world, talking, singing, making sound effects and playing with his food. I’ve suggested setting the timer for meals and if it goes off and he’s not done eating he won’t get dessert – but he absolutely panics when I suggested it. One night in his sleep he shrieked “Don’t turn on the timer!”

The other problem is bigger. Noah has always had a difficult time disengaging. If he’s in a zone, having a good time and you try to tell him he needs to stop what he’s doing he is less than thrilled. And when he’s the least bit tired he reaches hysterical meltdown levels. These are particularly alarming because Noah is normally so well behaved, so reasonable and so good at expressing his feelings. But when he’s shrieking, crying and making irrational nonsensical demands I’m at a loss. It’s like a Jekyll/Hyde situation. In fact normally after calming down he’ll say of his own accord “I’m sorry I was crying. I was a little tired.” But when he’s in the heat of one of those crazy moments there is nothing I can say to get him out of it – I just have to wait for him to boil over and run out of steam. This is particularly taxing when Ray is awake and requiring care at the same time. On Wednesday after twenty rounds of "I don't want to go. I want to do ONE MORE THING" I had to carry Noah crying, kicking and screaming from the Smith Playhouse playground with a sleeping Ray strapped to me in the Bjorn. It was nasty. I have to pull out my parenting books to try and refresh myself on the dealing with tantrum strategies. Suggestions?

Noah’s first day of preschool is on Monday. He’ll be going on Mondays and Thursdays from 12 – 2pm. When anyone asks “Are you excited to start school?” Noah says “Yes. But it’s gonna be a little sad because Mama won’t be there.” But I think he’s going to be fine. Today we went to an orientation and he got to meet some of the teachers and play with the toys. At first he was hanging by my side and asking me to come and play with him but I told him no and encouraged him to play on his own. As I suspected he glommed on to a teacher who put a bunch of puzzles together with him – and then he was ready to strike out on his own. I asked him before bed tonight if he’s going to cry when I drop him off on Monday and he said “No.” I told him some of the other kids, the younger kids might cry and he told me he’d help them stop crying because he was a magical king. I might need a magical king to stop my crying on Monday – but I guess Ray will be enough of a distraction.

But I have a feeling that Noah is really ready for school. Just in the last few weeks he’s seemed so much more social at picnics and parties we’ve been at. At a picnic at my Dad’s place he spent all day running around with his cousins James and Julius and at my Aunt Jill’s surprise birthday party he was cavorting in the disco lights with his cousins Aelan and Evan. Both times he barely seemed to notice I was still there – and that feels really good and also makes me sad. It’s like he’s a REAL LIVE BOY! GOD – the time is going by so fast already. Blink and I’ll miss it all. Any day now I’ll be one of the older ladies in the grocery store oohing and ahhing over random children and telling their mothers “I wish my kids were still that small” and “Treasure every moment.”

And with the passing of each day Master Ray grows. He’s two months old today. He’s really begun cooing, throwing his arms and feet around and smiling. His awake and content time is increasing and I look forward to him “doing” things like playing with toys and laughing. He is happiest in a sling or in my arms. Seems he didn’t get the memo that second babies should be content to hang out alone and untended to for long periods of time. Like Noah he wants to always be close and cuddled. Don’t know how on earth MY kids got to be so emotionally needy. Ha. Mark says “It’s not my fault. You are the one that doesn’t like to be alone.”

Hmmm. Me. What is up with me? Well I look a mess. I need to lose 30 pounds and I desperately need clothes. I’ve realized that for the most part I wear disposable clothing. I buy almost everything from Old Navy – because of the basic styling, price and convenience. And I only have a handful of things that I wear and wash and wear and wash until they are shrunken, threadbare or stained – so by the end of every season my clothes are trash. Add to that the increasing and decreasing weight with the pregnancies and it gets all the more complicated. I have nothing remotely fitting and flattering for fall – forget fashionable - and I don’t have the time or money to buy anything. It makes me want to hide in the basement in my maternity tank tops and faded, saggy Levis.

I have to rap this up because I have TV to watch with my husband. We’ve actually been Netflixing a lot of TV shows lately. We were never watching the movies we received – the two hour time commitment seems too much when you’re exhausted after putting the kids to bed. So we switched to shows and have really been enjoying Weeds Season 2, Extras Season 2 and Dead Like Me Seasons 1 & 2. Next on the list I believe is Dexter as well as 30 Rock. And I’m eager for The Tudors to be released. Also considering the 4400. Anyone like that? (I should italics and link all those titles but screw it.)

Oh and I’m SUPER behind on blog commenting but not so much on reading. I can get to a site and read with a baby in one hand and a toddler hanging on my leg – but can’t type. So I’m sending comments via super internet brainwaves. Anyone receiving those? Julie? Katie? Lonna?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation or, The Numbers Don’t Lie

by Marksthespot

  • Rode 1 Duckboat – received 4 plastic quackers
  • Visited 1 zoo – saw 1 baby tiger cub (out of a possible 2)
  • Enjoyed 1 Indian-American festival – wondered if Noah would enjoy a Bollywood dance class
  • Spent 1 afternoon on 3 trains and 1 ferryboat – in a big circle
  • Attended 5 outstanding family picnics – with 3 different branches of family
  • Watched 140 hours of baseball – spent 20 hours doing it (thanks, DVR!)
  • Made a list of 25 non-child-related “Things to Get Done” – did 3 of them
  • Rejected 2 onesies as too small – already!
  • Changed 150 diapers – got peed on 147 times
  • Was spit up on 69 times – less than expected
  • Received 12 brief infant smiles making it all worth it – 7 may have been gas
  • Acted in 189 performances of record-breaking off-Broadway hit Momma’s Got a Baby in Her Belly – played role of Big Sister 112 times, Grandmother 52 times, Momma 21 times, The Doctor 4 times and Tiny Baby 0 times
  • Received 0 positive responses to suggestion that I lay on the bed for just a few minutes before playing with trains – at 7 a.m.
  • Watched 53 episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood – saw Lady Aberlaine at 30, 40 and 50 years old
  • Listened to Icky Thump 47 times – participated in 7 “Jack and Meg” shows as acted out by Noah
  • Juggled 2 baby monitors with 3 receivers – across 4 floors
  • Had 104 nighttime sleep interruptions – and got off easy, compared with Nicole
  • Woke up 6 times in Noah’s bunkbed – with a 75-inch frame for my 76-inch frame
  • Experienced 30 instances of the joyful satisfaction of getting my child to sleep – 15 times infant division, 15 times preschooler division
  • Cut 18 tags out of brand-new underpants – 7 Thomas, 7 Elmo, 4 miscellaneous
  • Cleaned up just 4 potty-training accidents – in over a month!
  • Handed out 22 toys celebrating potty success – total cost, $23
  • Used 29 sick days, 6 vacation days – all worth it
  • Lost major patience 9 times – apologized 9 times (hopefully)
  • Gave out 1,172 unsolicited kisses – Nicole 175 (should have been more), Noah 397, Ray 606 (he can’t run away), all at once 14 times (yes, it can be done)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm no Edmund Hillary

In less than a week Mark will be back at work and I will be home alone with the dangerous duo. Honestly I’m quaking in my boots. The dreaded double crying jags fill me with fear. It’s those moments that make me feel like my head will explode and my first inclination is to join them rather than soothe them. One cryer – no problem. Two – insanity. I can’t hear myself think and I feel useless to pacify either of them. The other major obstacle is exits. Getting everyone dressed, packing a bag and getting out of the house with both boys in a timely manner seems akin to climbing Mount Everest. Clearly some people have done it before – but how I can’t even imagine. Sure, it won’t be long before all of this is old hat and I’ll be a pro – but NOW – I’m one nervous Nelly.

So what have we been up to? I can barely recall. I’ll try to recap the highlights – even if it’s for noone else’s benefit but my own.

We had a lovely visit last week from the Juliloquy family. They brought us some divine Thai food that was outshined only by their company. It’s so amazing to me to have met such smart, interesting, friendly people via blogging and to have translated it into a real budding friendship between our families. We can’t wait to meet their little Polly.

We went to see the Cole Brother’s circus in the Northeast. It was sort of a sad, poor man’s circus experience but we got the tickets free for making a donation to the FOP and Noah did really enjoy the performance. But surprisingly he hasn’t been acting it out as much as I anticipated. He’s been hung up on a few different scenarios that repeat themselves almost daily. The pregnant Mama/new baby/big brother drama is ever present. He’s the Mama and Mark and/or I are normally the older sibling. Birthday parties are another recurring theme. His trains and cars are constantly celebrating. He’s also gearing up for school starting in September by sending his Little People off for some learning. And for a week Noah was making us act out word for word an episode of Berenstain Bears wherein Sister Bear was ostracized by Hillary, the new girl at school. Oh and the new popular story line involves vomit, but I guess I didn’t mention that yet.

Sunday was Mark’s birthday. I’ve been too out of it to plan a damn thing so when my Mom asked if we wanted to head to her neck of the woods and have brunch with her and her fiancé at The Washington House we jumped at the offer. On the way to Mark’s birthday celebration Noah got sick in the car. In fact he vomited all over himself. At that moment we thought he could have a stomach bug but it turned out he was just motion sick from intently staring at a pop-up Pinocchio (Pokey-nose) book in the car. Anyway we didn’t make it to the restaurant. After a cursory cleaning job and a change of Noah’s clothes in the parking lot of a Wawa we went straight to my Mom’s place even though they still went out to brunch. Of course they were thoughtful enough to read us the menu over the phone and bring us back food. And Mark spent quite a bit of time on his birthday trying to un-vomit the car. Happy Birthday to YOU, Mr. Family Man.

Oh on Saturday we went into the heart of central Jersey to the second birthday party of one of Mark’s cousin’s daughters. They went all out – kiddie pools, slip-n-slide, moon bounce, coloring table, and hired help to do a sand art/spin art table. And then there was the food – fried chicken, salads, chips, gumbo, crabs, corn, Rice Krispies treats, and an ice cream cake. It was an insanely hot day but we spent almost all of it outside. Ray slept while I chatted and snacked. And Mark trailed Noah who had a BLAST. I think he would have considered marrying to acquire that slip-n-slide.

On Monday we went to the Zoo with my cousin Tammy and her two kids. We had a really great time. Again – Ray slept and Noah cavorted. It’s really heartwarming to see how comfortable Noah is with his cousins. They were chasing each other around, making faces and laughing together. So sweet.

This week is a crazy blur of appointments. I had my six week postnatal OB appointment on Tuesday. Fun, fun. Today Noah and I had dentist appointments – his first and shamefully my first in almost four years. As I had anticipated he did exceptionally well. Both the dentist and the hygienist were floored by how cooperative and sweet he was. He always makes me so proud. I was not so proud about my dental check-up. Though miraculously she didn’t see any cavities (though the X-rays will tell for sure) she did say I needed a rather rigorous cleaning that would require I be numbed so she can mercilessly scrape all the crap off my teeth. So I have that to look forward to. Mark stayed in the lobby with Ray – who slept. Tomorrow after a playdate with one of the kids who’s going to be in Noah’s class when his school starts (Sept 17) we have a lunch date with Patrice and then hair appointments all around.

Um… what else? Oh, Ray is now on Zantac. It makes a HUGE difference. Though already his dosage needs to be increased. We’ve been giving it to him every twelve hours and it’s obviously wearing off around ten. The result is two hours of miserable discomfort for him. It sucks watching him suffer while his stomach tortures him. And the sad whimpering is far more gut wrenching than the full volume caterwauling. And potty training is still going splendidly. In fact I consider us done, really. At the end of this week when Noah finishes his last sticker chart he will have a Potty Party and a certificate declaring him an official big boy potty-user. It’s the only thing I could think of to put an end to the reward system so I don’t have to give him stickers and cars and trains forever.

So it really has been nice having Mark home. He’s become really close with Noah during his extra time at home and I hope that doesn’t suffer too much when he goes back to work. I know in the past Noah has in certain ways held it against Mark that he wasn’t here all the time. But I think Mark’s ready to head back to the office. Not that he doesn’t really enjoy being with his family, because he does, but I think some quiet office time might be nice for him. Even if that means dealing with his boss. I’ve asked him to write a “What I learned on my summer vacation” posting so hopefully we’ll have that insight some time in the next week.

And that’s where we’re at.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This is livin'

Celebratin' Pop's birthday, chillin' in the sling and gnawin' on Mama.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh hai!


I can has cheezberger?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Livin in a land of candy

So the little tyke had his one month checkup last week and he’s getting less and less little. He’s nearing a whopping eleven pounds already. It seems in the 23 days between his last two doc appointments he gained 27 ounces. You see – I told you he wants to nurse ALL the time.

Life in the land of two offspring is dizzying. One moment I'm all "WHAT were we thinking?" and "I'll NEVER be able to handle them ALONE!" and the next I'm thinking "GOD I LOVE THEM! This can't be my last one."

I’m sorry to report that gastric reflux has reared its ugly head. Slowly Ray has been showing symptoms and they have been getting more and more severe. This of course is rather disappointing but on the up side it gives us hope that soon there will be less screaming. This boy – he’s got some lungs on him. Noah NEVER screamed like this. Ray goes from quiet to window-shattering decibels in one second flat with no plaintive mewling in between. In fact when he screams he does it so forcefully, and so angrily that his whole body turns beet red and he looks like he might pop some blood vessels. It can be quite disconcerting, but over time I’ve gotten more and more accustomed to it. Now I’m able to just hold him calmly and comfort him and wait for it to stop, but Mark isn’t fairing so well. It’s still melting his brain. As it does with just about anyone else. On Thursday my father-in-law's wife was in the car with us when Ray started screaming and she wanted me to stop the car because she was certain he was in life threatening peril. I was all “Nope. He’s fine. He’s just angry and wants out of his seat. He’ll stop when he feels like it.” I don’t want to give the impression that he’s an unpleasant colicky scream machine – he isn’t. He sleeps a lot and anytime he’s out of the house he is a dream – just loves looking at the world and being in a sling. But several times a day at home he goes through these short inconsolable crying jags – and though they often seem attributable to possible reflux symptoms or really bad bouts of gas – we can’t be sure. Today we started giving him small doses of Maalox and if those don’t work we’ll go back to the pediatrician later in the week to get a prescription to Zantac.

Every time I take Ray out I get stopped several times by strangers all of whom make some comment on his red hair. Today while grocery shopping with Ray in the Baby Bjorn at the Shop Rite in Port Richmond three separate old ladies stopped me to say variations of “Ahh! A little red head! He’s so adorable. How old is he? Ahhh! He’s precious. Bless you!” With this many blessings a day we can’t go wrong. While I was stocking the fridge (for like two days – I swear I grocery shop incessantly) Mark and Noah were on a transit adventure. They took the Septa El to the Patco train to take them across the Betsey Ross Bridge and then took the River Link Ferry back across the Delaware and then home on the El. There was no destination – just to ride the never before ridden Patco train and the Ferry. And they had a grand time.

Last weekend we visited family. We went to a pool party at the home of one of Mark’s maternal cousins on Saturday and saw a bunch of family that sadly we only get to see like once a year unless there is a wedding or a funeral. It was a really lovely day – the highlight for Noah being the pool. We nearly had to move him in. Sunday we went to my Mom’s place. While we were there Noah played with my Aunt Jill – she has no kids of her own and so at most family gatherings she acts as the pied piper and entertains the flocks of young ‘uns – bless her soul. This time Noah had her all to himself and really enjoyed it. And before we left he played his first board game with my Mom and his second cousins Alec and Cody. He did really well so later in the week we set out for Toys R’ Us and bought him the preschool board game basics. He is loving Candyland and Hi Ho Cherrio – but Chutes and Ladders is decidedly too confusing because of the board design. The odd part is that though he mastered the rules instantly and played intently the first few times – now that he’s more accustomed to them he loses focus real fast. Much to Mark’s chagrin. In Candyland Noah is fascinated with the treat cards and will just stare at them and lament every time he gets a card with color squares on it.

On Saturday we HAD to go out because the weather was sunny and mild – and until then we’d forgotten what that felt like. We went to Penns Landing to check out the food, music and dancing at the Indian festival. Little girls dancing to Bollywood hits and Samosas to die for! (Now Noah is reenacting festivals at home.) Afterward we hit Franklin Fountain for some blueberry ice cream – made from freshly picked Jersey blueberries of course.

And how could I forget – Noah finally got his BED! My in-laws came to help us pick it up on Thursday. And though it took two days and several nervous breakdowns to assemble it – we are all quite pleased with his new bunk bed. I’ll post pictures soon.

OH! And potty training is still really great. Seriously. It has seemed all too easy. Maybe we really just lucked out by picking the perfect time to start. Of course tomorrow it could all go horribly, horribly wrong. But that seems unlikely after weeks of success. However as Noah says about drawing a card in Candyland “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Look at these boys


The little one is chubbin' up good and the big one is using the potty and managing a massive transportation hub out of my kitchen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

For him to poop on

I had been putting off potty training for eons. I was just dreading it. I didn’t want to start it before Noah was ready, and I didn’t want it to be a year-long battle. I had heard from so many people that even completely potty trained children regress when a second child is born, so I had decided that I would wait until after Ray was born to really get started. We had made some cursory steps though. Noah has peed on the potty before and after his bath every night for some time And awhile ago I had purchased Noah some “big boy” underwear that I laundered and put in his drawer telling him that he could wear them when he was ready. In recent weeks he began asking about the underwear and showing real interest in wearing them. So this weekend we said “Okay. We will start wearing underwear on Monday.”

For the most part we’re just going cold turkey. We’ve stuck close to home and while in the house Noah’s been wearing just underwear – not even pants. On his first day Noah did perfectly. He had NO accidents and even pooped on the potty twice. Mark and I were floored – we would have taken bets against an outcome that good. He is obviously capable of being potty trained and ready. However the next two days we backslid a bit – with a couple of peeing accidents – but still strong on potty pooping. After the accidents, mostly because he didn’t seem at all upset about them, I decided to make a sticker reward chart which I had been hoping to avoid. For one I’m not good at maintaining that sort of thing, and on the other it smacks of bribery. But it helped get us back on track and again Noah had a perfect day yesterday. He seems to be doing remarkably well and the most promising thing is that he seems really proud of himself. Of course I know we still have a bumpy road ahead of us.

Now the big hurdles ahead of us are spending more time out of the house and getting Noah to ask to use the potty rather than have us constantly remind him. We used a pull-up at playgroup yesterday and were thrilled when he actually asked to use the potty – so that is a positive sign. And I think we’ll use pull-ups for the hour-long car trips to see family we have planned this weekend but then put him in underwear when we reach our destinations. Hopefully he won’t pee on anyone’s floor. Wish us continued success.

As for what else is going on – baby, nursing, visiting, playing. Still thrilled to have Mark home with us and dreading him going back after Labor Day.

Oh – and I have to mention how much I’ve been loving Flight of the Conchords. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. You know that sort of embarrassing facial- contorting, mouth-gaping, eye-tering, slobber-dripping laughing?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Let the games begin.

Please let this not be a long, hard road.